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Cole-Hamilton calls for plans to reduce bed blocking

December 5, 2017 12:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today called on SNP ministers to set out their plans for reducing avoidable delayed discharges after new statistics showed the highest number of health and social care delays since February and revealed the huge cost to the NHS of the problem.

The number of patients delayed for health and social care reasons was 1,078 - 161 higher than earlier in the year.

New annual statistics also published today showed 1 in 12 NHS beds occupied by people on delayed discharges. The cost of delayed discharges to the NHS was £132 million in 2015/16 - a daily cost of £233 per patient.

Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:

"We know the cost of delayed discharges to patients and their families, not least disruption and distress, and now we know the eye-watering cost to the NHS too.

"Well over 1,000 patients are still in hospital every day solely because the care they need in the community isn't available. They are clinically ready to leave but their needs haven't been assessed, there isn't a place in a care home or the carers needed to visit them at home.

"Staff are working around the clock but they are really stretched. Given the situation hasn't improved to any great extent since the integration of health and social care in April 2016, SNP ministers should now set out their plans for reducing avoidable delayed discharges and the progress they expect to be made tackling it over the coming months."